Mesdames on the Move: Febuary 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers!

Our momentum continues through February with more new books, readings and honours!


Caro Soles

Big congratulations to Mme Caro Soles who is now a member of the Executive Council of the International Crime Writers Association. The ICWA runs the annual Hammett Award for literary excellence in crime fiction.

Caro is a well-known and versatile author from Toronto, who founded and ran Bloody Words, Canada’s national crime writers’ conference.  She was awarded the Derrick Murdock Award of the Crime Writers of Canada for her contributions to the crime genre.

Caro’s website. Her Caro’s Wikipedia bio.


Books, Books, Books!

Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert


Rosemary Aubert may be our Mme Emerita but she continues to publish at an enviable pace. Her historical novel, A Light in Trieste, is due to be released by Carrick Publishing in the spring.

Rosemary spent many years researching the colourful history of Trieste, which stands at the crossroads between Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.




Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits is delighted to share that she has signed the contract for her tenth novel, The Rage Roomwith Inanna Publications.

From the incomparable crafter of nine cross-genre works of fiction, award winning author Lisa de Nikolits expands her horizons to pen a multi-layered, grab-you-by-the-throat, feminist dystopian domestic suspense thriller, a speculative-fiction murder mystery in the style of Groundhog Day meets The Matrix. The perfect father kills his family on Christmas Eve, and tries to undo his actions by jumping back in time. The result is murder and mayhem in dystopia.


Melodie Campbell

And don’t forget Mme Melodie Campbell, Our Queen of Comedy’s new book, The Italian Cure published by Orca on January 29th.

This romantic comedy is perfect to cozy up with on a chilly evening.



Readings and Events!

Ontario Library Association Superconference

The OLAS 2020 just wrapped up and was a terrific opportunity for three Mmes to showcase their work.

Lisa de Nikolits

The Occult Persuasion

Melodie Campbell

Cover of Crime Club





Lisa signed complimentary copies of her new thriller, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution for Inanna on Thursday, January 30th. And on Friday, January 31st, Melodie Campbell did the same for her new YA mystery, Crime Club (Orca).


Madeleine Harris Callway


In the Key of 13Later on Friday, January 31st, the Crime Writers of Canada hosted their annual line-up of new crime books for 2020. M. H. Callway presented In the Key of 13 on behalf of the Mmes and Melodie Campbell presented Crime Club!



Pivot Readings

Lisa De Nikolits will be reading at the Pivot Readings on Thursday, February 27th, 8 p.m., at the Tranzac Club, Tiki Room, 292 Brunswick Ave., Toronto.


Social Media!

Blog Tours

Lisa de Nikolits Lisa De Nikolits is continuing her  Silver Dagger Book Tour into February after a grueling, almost daily blog tour in January to promote The Occult Persuasion. Check out Lisa’s full blog tour schedule.

And she has also started a new blog of AUTHOR INTERVIEWS. Rumour has it that a number of Mmes will be guesting on it. Stay tuned!

Save the Date!

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

A friendly reminder from Cheryl Freedman that registration is now open for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020, High Park Club, Toronto.

Note to authors: The sooner you register, the more likely you are to be on a panel.

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Meet the Women who Love Murder: A CBC Gem Short Doc featuring the Mesdames of Mayhem

In October, 2019, the day before the release of our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13, (Carrick Publishing) the Mesdames were honored to be the subject of a truly wonderful CBC Gem Short Documentary video.

Only 15 minutes long, the video highlights four of our members: Lisa de Nikolits, Melodie Campbell, Jane Burfield and Donna Carrick. Behind the scenes, though, the film could not have been made without the contributions of all of our members, including our honorary member, Director and visionary, Cat Mills, as well as CBC producer Felicity Justrabo.

We hope you will enjoy. Please stay with us till the end of this short labor of love, for insights into the minds of women who love murder!

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Mesdames on the Move: January 2020

Happy New Year, Dear Readers!

Happy New YearThe Mesdames of Mayhem had a truly remarkable year in 2019 to share with you, including the incredibly moving CBC Short Doc on the Mesdames by the brilliantly talented Cat Mills and her CBC team, and the launch of our 4th anthology, In the Key of 13.

In 2020, we’re looking forward to meeting many more of you at our upcoming events and workshops, as well as through your comments on this blog and social media.

January is starting off a busy decade for us with new books, public events and readings, conferences and teaching emerging new crime writers!


Books, Books, Books!

In the Key of 13The e-Pub edition of our fabulous new anthology, In the Key of 13, will be available by Jan. 24.

This means , dear readers, that you can buy it through most e-Pub retailers:  iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and so on. You can already access the Kindle edition here.

Links will be posted as soon as they go live.

And another thrilling piece of news, our antho is now available in the Toronto Public Library. Check out our listing here



Melodie Campbell

Big congratulations to Melodie Campbell, Our Queen of Comedy on her new book, The Italian Cure, to be published by Orca on January 29th.

This a romantic comedy, light and fun, and almost a travelogue to Italy, perfect to cozy up with on a chilly evening.


Here’s the preview: Charlie’s world comes crashing down when her fiancé leaves her for another woman. Then Aunt Della wins a trip for two to Rome. Can Italy mend her broken heart? But with adventure comes mishaps, and Charlie’s trip seems to be full of them! In between the chaos and hijinks of this supposed vacation, will Charlie take another chance at love?

Readings and Events!

Sisters in Crime Reading

On Thursday, January 16th, 7 pm, several Mesdames join their sister crime writers at Northern District Library, 40 Orchardview Blvd., Toronto. This is an annual reading night hosted by Toronto Sisters in Crime. Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.

Come out and hear the work of M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles. Books will also be available for sale.

Madeleine Harris Callway

MH Callway

Caro Soles

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

Rosemary McCracken

R. McCracken






Ontario Library Association Superconference

This annual event draws librarians from all over Ontario to Toronto for several days of seminars, panels and exhibits.  To learn more:

Lisa de Nikolits


The Occult PersuasionOn Thursday, January 30th, at 1:30 pm, Lisa De Nikolits will be signing complimentary copies of her latest thriller, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution at the Ontario Book Publishers’ Pavilion, Table One.

This is a great opportunity to connect with librarians and other eager book lovers.


Madeleine Harris Callway



And on Friday, January 31st, 1 pm, the Crime Writers of Canada host their annual lunchtime presentation to librarians of thrilling new crime books for 2020. M. H. Callway will be presenting In the Key of 13 on behalf of the Mmes and Melodie Campbell will be promoting The Italian Cure!


Social Media!

It often surprises readers and interviewers that we Mesdames originally got together in 2013 to deal with a new beast:  social media.  Some of us were “power users”, others complete technophobes. We decided to pool our expertise to help out our friends.

Seven years later, how the publishing industry has transformed! Social Media, like blogs, podcasts and YouTube videos, are critical to reaching readers and so will be our focus for the new year. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement next month!

Blog Tour

Lisa de NikolitsOne of our Social Media Masters is Lisa De Nikolits who not only runs at least two blogs but documented her author experiences on YouTube in Writer For a Year!

This month, Lisa joined Silver Dagger Book Tours and has been working an almost daily blog tour to promote The Occult Persuasion. Check out Lisa’s full schedule here:

Dead to Writes


Dead to Writes, Donna Carrick’s podcast featuring primarily Canadian crime writers will resume in 2020.

Check back here for the upcoming schedule.

Rumour has it that quite a few of the authors in our new anthology, In the Key of 13, may be joining Donna on her show!


Learn from the Mesdames!

One of Mesdames’ goals is to nurture and encourage emerging crime writers.  For this reason, several of us teach.  Readers and aspiring writers, here are some terrific opportunities to learn from the best!


Melodie Campbell is back at Sheridan College, Trafalgar Road, Oakville Campus, teaching Crafting a Novel 1. The course starts this Saturday, Jan. 18, 10 am-1 pm, for 14 weeks.

Join award-winning author Melodie for this popular novel-writing bootcamp. Learn about Plot, Characterization, Dialogue,Viewpoint and more; what do we mean by ‘Show Not Tell’; and what makes up the different genres of popular fiction. In addition, learn the specifics of the Business of Writing, including e-publishing.

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh


Sylvia Warsh teaches creative writing to seniors at the Bernard Betel Centre for Creative Living, 1003 Steeles Avenue W. Fridays 10:30 – 12:30, January 10 to March 20. Participants have the opportunity to read their work aloud and be critiqued by their peers and instructor in a supportive and friendly environment.


Save the Date!

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

A friendly reminder from Cheryl Freedman:

For those of you who’ve already broken your New Year’s resolutions, here’s one that’s easy – and fun – to keep. Resolve to come to the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020.

Bony Blithe

We’re back at the High Park Club in Toronto. Space is limited, so register now. We have panels on a wide range of topics, a book dealer, lunch, the BB award dinner, and lots of opportunity to schmooze with old and new criminous friends.

Note to authors: The sooner you register, the more likely you are to be on a panel plus, if you’re published by a traditional publisher, the easier it will be for our book dealer to get your books.





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Happy New Year Readers!

The Mesdames of Mayhem had an absolutely stellar year in 2019. We were the subject of a CBC documentary: Meet the women who love murder | The Mesdames of Mayhem.

We launched our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13, a collection of 19 nefarious tales of music, mayhem and murder, to a terrific review by Jack Batten in The Toronto Star.

To round off a truly amazing year, several of us had  new books and short stories published as well as nominations for the Arthur Ellis and Derringer awards.

We’re looking forward to a terrific new decade starting in 2020. It’s all thanks to you, dear readers: we wouldn’t be here without you. We look forward to meeting many more of you at upcoming conferences, events and workshops in 2020.

We’re in the Movies!

Mesdames of Mayhem CBC Short Doc


Cat Mills

After one of our panels at the Beaches branch of the Toronto Public Library, a young filmmaker approached us. She asked if we would be willing to be the subject of a documentary. Cat Mills is an award-winning documentarian and together with her producer, Felicity Justrabo, she obtained funding from the CBC no less!

Cat shot miles of footage, interviewing several of us separately and together. And from this material, she created a 15-minute film that will make you laugh — and make you cry, because she deftly unveiled the humanity behind why we Mesdames write about crime.

The Mesdames of Mayhem launched on October 25th and we unanimously voted to make Cat an Honorary Mme of Mayhem. We look forward to her many wonderful new films in the Roaring 2020s!

To learn more about how the film was created, view Cat’s interview in CBC Books.

Our 4th Anthology!

In the Key of 13 Cover

On Saturday, October 26th,  we launched our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13. at our favourite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street. We filled the space with friends, family and readers.

Our theme for this collection of 18 stories and one satirical poem is music, mayhem and of course, murder! Jack Batten, crime fiction reviewer for The Toronto Star, gave us a warm review saying that “overall, the stories reach more diabolical peaks than the previous collections.” He made special mention of the stories by Melodie Campbell, Catherine Dunphy, Jane Petersen Burfield and Sylvia Warsh.

We were honoured to be part of the same review that featured Peter Robinson’s latest Inspector Banks novel, Many Rivers to Cross. Read Jack’s full review of In the Key of 13.

Our stellar book cover is thanks to the amazing talent and skill of artist Sara Carrick who not only designed our logo and gave us our signature purple colour, but has created the covers for ALL our anthologies.

Donna and Alex Carric

As always, much gratitude to Carrick Publishing,  publisher of all four of the Mesdames of Mayhem anthologies: Thirteen, 13 O’clock, 13 Claws and now In the Key of 13

All four books are available on Amazon, at our favourite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street and on the shelves of the Toronto Public Library.


Awards and Recognitions!

Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, was MC for the 2019 Arthur Ellis Awards on May 23rd, proving that a stand-up comic is the best host ever.

Melodie’s writing was recognized by TWO Arthur Ellis nominations: her short story, “A Ship Called Pandora” (Mystery Weekly) and her novella, The Goddaughter Does Vegas (Orca Book Publishers).

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh’s story, “A Cabin in the Woods”, was a finalist for the prestigious Derringer Award for Best Short Short Story. Her chilling tale appeared in Malice Domestic’s 2018 anthology, Murder Most Geographical. 


 Fabulous Publications!

2019 was another amazing publishing year for novels and short stories by the Mesdames.

Melodie Campbell

Cover of Crime Club





Melodie Campbell branched out into young adult fiction with the first of her new teen detective series, Crime Club (Orca Book Publishers.) It received rave reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. 


Lisa De Nikolits

The Occult Persuasion






Lisa De Nikolits continues to go from strength to strength. Her seventh thriller, No Fury Like That, was republished in Italian. In April, she attended the launch in Italy and followed that up with a book tour.  Her ninth novel, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Nightmare, was released in September to great reviews. (Both books by Inanna Publications.) Her story, “Fire Drill”, was part of the anthology, The Best Laid Plans, the first such collection by Superior Shores Press, Judy Penz Sheluk, editor.


Rosemary McCracken

Mystery Most Edible Anthology






Rosemary McCracken’s dark tale, “Dining Out”, where a restaurant critic gets his just deserts appeared in the 2019 Malice Domestic anthology, Murder Most Edible. And her Derringer-nominated story, “The Sweetheart Scamster”, was reprinted in The Best Laid Plans (Superior Shores Press).

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

Nothing Without Us





Madona Skaff’s story, “Backbone”, appears in the anthology, Nothing Without Us, where the protagonists are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or manage mental illness (Renaissance). Look for Madona’s second book in her Naya Assad series, Death by Association, later in 2020.

Caro Soles

Caro Soles






Caro Soles is a master of several genres: thrillers, historicals, speculative and dark fiction and erotica. Readers can sample the spectrum of Caro’s work in her collection of short stories, Do You Know Me? (Baskerville Press). Her new novel (title to be announced) will be published by Inanna Publications in 2020.

Kevin Thornton

A Matter of Time by Kevin Pl Norton





Kevin Thornton’s story, “A Matter of Time”, is one of six truly terrifying tales in the anthology, It Came from the North (Blurb). The stories are inspired by the fantastic, the speculative and things that lurk in the dark.

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Down and Out Magazine Nov 2019






Sylvia Warsh‘s story, “The Comeback” is one of the works featured in a new literary journal called Vautrin, inspired by Balzac’s criminal mastermind character with the same name (Watermark Books). And her noir tale, “The Veiled Heart”, was published in  Volume 2, Issue 1 of Down and Out Magazine.


Sylvia Warsh and Rosemary McCracken

Madona Skaf, Lynne Murphy. Madeleine Harris-Callway

Madona Skaf, Lynne Murphy and Madeleine Harris-Callway

Word on the Street (WOTS) is one of Toronto’s biggest literary festivals and on Sunday, Sept. 22nd, the Mesdames of Mayhem were back in Writers Block for their fifth consecutive year.

We had pre-launch copies of our new anthology, In the Key of 13  on display- and sold out! Also for sale were copies of our three first anthologies: Thirteen, 13 o’clock, and 13 Claws as well as novels by Mesdames authors.

Our new – and somewhat controversial – indoor location facilitated our customary support at the booths of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Word on the Street

Marilyn Kay and Friend

A big thank you to the thirteen Mesdames  (our lucky number!) who made this event possible by staffing the booth and/or giving donations: Rosemary Aubert, Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Donna Carrick, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy, Mary Patterson, Ed Piwowarczyk, Roz Place, Madona Skaff, Sylvia Warsh.

And big thanks and hugs to Marilyn Kay for the fab photos and to Jane for our ghostly companion!

Mega Conferences!

2019 was the year of conferences both at home in Canada and in the USA.

Bloody Words Minicon 

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman reports that the 2019 Bloody Words Minicom on May 24, 2019, was great fun for guests and attendees. Several Mmes attended and took part in the panels:  Cathy Astolfo, Jane Burfield, Melodie Campbell, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken, Ed Piwowarczyk, Caro Soles and Sylvia Warsh.

Caro Soles announced her retirement from the Board and was honored by the attendees. This year’s winner of the Bony Blithe Award was Mike Martin for his novel, Darkest Before the Dawn.

Left Coast Crime


In March, Mmes M. H. Callway, Lynne Murphy and Madona Skaff attended Left Coast Crime, held for the first time in Canada in Vancouver. We reconnected with old crime writer friends, like Vicki Delany and made new ones, like A.J. Devlin and Debra Goldstein, through Noir at the Bar, the Short Mystery Fiction Society meet-up and the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) dinner.

Madeleine was on the panel, Short Fiction and Novellas and Madona on Medicine and Science. 

This year, we Mesdames signed up for an Author-Reader Connection, a private event where readers and authors meet face to face. It proved to be a terrific success! We took four fun readers to tea at the Vancouver Art Gallery and spent a delightful afternoon chatting about crime fiction.

Limestone Genre Expo


Limestone Genre ExpoOn June 1st,  M. H. Callway, Madona Skaff and Caro Soles attended Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario. They served on author panels, gave workshops and met readers.

This year CWC hosted a new event on Saturday night – a pub quiz. Good beer, food and book prizes! Many thanks again to Liz Strange and her team for organizing.


International Thriller Writers – Thriller Fest

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits attended Thriller Fest XIV in New York City, July 9 to 13th.  In addition to her panel on Highsmith, Hammett OR Agatha Christie? The Thrills Of Mystery, she met celebrity authors, pitched her next novel at an agent pitch session and took in the sights of The Big Apple.


When Words Collide

Madeleine Harris Callway

M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway attended When Words Collide in Calgary, August 9 to 11th.  This multi-genre conference attracts 800+ participants every year and welcomes both established and emerging writers.

Madeleine was delighted to be on the panel, Does It Have to be Murder? She was honoured to read from her story, “The Seeker”, at the Noir at the Bar event, hosted by noir fiction publisher, Coffin Hop Press.

Also, a wonderful opportunity to connect with fab western crime writers and friends, Jayne Barnard and Therese Greenwood.

More Readings and Events!

In 2019, the Mesdames continued to give numerous readings, participate in panel discussions and to hold workshops at libraries and colleges. Several events were together with Toronto Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers of Canada.

An author’s best friend is a librarian. A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to the wonderful support of the Beaches, Mt. Pleasant, Runnymede and Queen and Salter Branches of the Toronto Public Library.


Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy

Our fearless leader, Cathy Dunphy, arranged an overnight event in Bracebridge at  the local University Women’s Club with Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay and Rosemary McCracken. Very successful in terms of recognition and book sales – and spurring us on to more Ontario events in 2020. Stay tuned!

Cathy also appeared on Episode 6 of the crime fiction interview series, Crime Beat Confidential, hosted by CWC member, Sharon Crawford on internet TV station, That Channel. Lisa was interviewed in Episode 7.

Social Media

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa wound up her podcast, Writer for a Year, in which she documented her writer’s journey for 2019.

She also resumed her The Minerva Reader blog where she promotes undiscovered Canadian authors readers should know more about.


Noir at the Bar

Noir at the Bar continues to be a Toronto tradition every quarter at the Wallace Gastropub.

Lisa De Nikolits was a featured author in June and Caro Soles in November. Thanks to Rob Brunet and Hope Thompson for their support of Canadian crime writers!



We are now 21 members strong! Cat Mills is an honorary Mme and we have a new Monsieur, Blair Keetch, the winner of our emerging writer contest for In the Key of 13. Blair’s mentor is leading Canadian author, Giles Blunt. 

Blair Keetch

Blair Keetch

A huge THANK YOU, to our newsletter editors, Marilyn Kay and Roz Place, for all their hard work keeping us up to date.

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

Roz Place

Roz Place


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Mesdames on the Move: December 2019


Santa Cats

Although 2019 is winding down the Mesdames are still making news.

This year we had two huge highlights: the very successful launch of our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13 on October 26th and the wonderful, penetrating Short Doc produced by CBC, The Mesdames of Mayhem that premiered on October 25th, one day before our book launch.


Books make terrific holiday gifts, especially the latest books by the Mesdames of Mayhem!

In the Key of 13Top of the list is In the Key of 13 (Carrick Publishing 2019). Music from Mozart to Beethoven to Elvis is a sweet accompaniment to sin in 19 wicked tales, ranging from cozy to noir, by 18 acclaimed Canadian crime writers and one talented newcomer.

Can you hear the violins? They may be plotting your demise. Are you an opera lover? Take care, your passion means a revenge served cold. And that tune that refuses to leave your mind? It will truly drive you mad…

Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, has two terrific offerings for gifts this holiday season: The Goddaughter Does Vegas (Orca Books) and her first YA book, The Crime Club (Orca Books).

The Goddaughter Does VegasThe Goddaughter Does Vegas (Orca Books) is the sixth in her award-winning and hilarious Goddaughter series. In this madcap adventure, Gina has left her loopy mob family behind to elope with Pete to Vegas. Except that eloping may be a mortal sin in an Italian family. Gina’s nerves are frayed by a series of weird deliveries and suitors. To make matters worse, Gina has a crime-committing double whose activities are making Gina front-page news. Gina has to track down this fiendish fraud before the police catch up with her.


Cover of Crime ClubIn Crime Club 16-year-0ld  Penny has moved with her mom and huge dog, Ollie, to live above a small-town pub owned by her aunt. It’s a relief to start over in a place where no one knows her father is in prison.

It’s summer, and the only person she knows is her nerdy cousin Simon. Soon she meets Simon’s best friend, Brent, and Brent’s twin sister, Tara, and their pug, Wolfgang.

When Ollie digs up a human bone in the backyard of the pub, police are called. It turns out the bone is over twenty years old. Who can the dead person be? Surely Aunt Stella can’t be involved.


The Occult PersuasionIn The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution, a seriocomic thriller by Lisa de Nikolits, a post-retirement couple embarks on an unintentionally life-changing around-the-world adventure. Their travel turns into an exploration of the meaning of life, healing from old wounds, romantic love at all ages, and how with love and passion, we can make a difference, at any age.


Do You Know Me Short Story CollectionLook out for a new collection of short stories by Caro Soles coming soon in December. From the spectacular cover reveal, Do You Know Me? looks to be full of intriguing, even spellbinding stories. We can’t wait to read it.



A Matter of Time by Kevin Pl NortonSherlock Holmes returns to save the world from the evil genius of the brightest mind of his generation. Does time wait for no man or does time, this time, make an exception?  M. Kevin P. Thornton‘s story “A Matter of Time” is in the new anthology It Came from the North.




Mystery Most Edible Anthology

Rosemary McCrackens short story “Dining Out” is part of the collection for the 2019 Malice Domestic anthology, Parnell Hall Presents Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press June 2019). book link book link



The Best Laid Plans AnthologyLook for Lisa de Nikolits‘s story “Fire Drill”  and Rosemary McCracken’s “The Sweetheart Scamster” in the anthology The Best Laid Plans (Superior Shores Press June 2019).



Nothing Without UsMadona Skaffs mystery short story “Backbone” appears in Nothing Without Us, a mixed genre anthology featuring disabled protagonists. “We are the heroes, not the sidekicks.”

Nothing Without Us is available in print, audiobook, and ebook versions on the Press Renaissance Press online bookstore! You can also find the print book and Kindle version on Amazon, the audiobook and ebook on Kobo, and the print book on the B&N website.


Down and Out Magazine Nov 2019Sylvia Maultash Warsh‘s story “The Veiled Heart’ was published in Vol 2, Issue 1 Paperback – Nov 1, 2019, Down and Out The Magazine. The story features a Salvador Dali painting by the same name, coveted by a Toronto psychiatrist.





Forest of Reading 2020 Great Stories

Goddaughter Does Vegas

The Ontario Library Association has named Melodie Campbells The Goddaughter Does Vegas a Forest of Reading 2020 GREAT STORIES! This is book six in the Derringer and Arthur Ellis award-winning humorous caper series featuring a Hamilton Mob goddaughter who doesn’t want to be one, but keeps getting dragged back in to bail out her inept family.

Rosemary McCrackenRegistration is open for Rosemary McCracken‘s Novel Writing 2: How to Develop Your Novel course at George Brown College. The course starts up again on January 14, running 12 weeks until March 31. You can register online for this course now.



On Wednesday, December 4th, 6:30 p.m. the Mesdames will be out in force to celebrate with Santa Catfriends and fellow authors at the annual Sisters in Crime/CWC Holiday Party. This year the party will be held at 60 Collier St, Toronto.  Tickets are available online through Toronto Sisters in Crime. The deadline to get tickets is Monday, December 2.

A gentle reminder from Mme. Cheryl Freedman:

The clock is ticking to the December 16 deadline for submissions to the 2020 Bony Blithe Light MysteryAward with its prize of $1000 plus a charming plaque. For the submission rules, visit the Bony Blithe submission rules page at

And for both authors and readers: Registration for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-Con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020, is now open. We’re back at the High Park Club in Toronto. Space is limited, so register now for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-Con.

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More News for Mesdames of Mayhem

Panel on Historical Crime Writing








On Thursday, November 21st at 7:00 p.m. in Toronto’s Northern District Library, Mmes Sylvia Warsh and Caro Soles join other historical crime fiction authors Nate Hendley, (moderator), Lorna Poplak and Ann Shortell for a panel on writing historical crime fiction at the November Toronto Sisters in Crime meeting. Guests are welcome for $5.

Noir at the Bar

Caro SolesMme Caro Soles joins Ryan Aldred, CJ Birch, Giles Blunt, Bianca Marais and Doug Schmidt for readings from their books at Noir at the Bar, starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 28th at The Wallace Gastropub, 1954 Yonge St. (Davisville). Book a table courtesy of A Different Drummer Books.



And Some KUDOS for the Mesdames

We’ve received some wonderful reactions to our Mesdames of Mayhem CBC Short Documentary. Here are two we’d like to share:

The Mesdames of Mayhem

A Tribute by Rosalie Callway

They may call it a ‘murder of crows’ but
when the Mesdames get together it is sheer carnage.
It would be a felony to say
they make light of foul play,
but with every vitriolic volume they make a killing a page.

Their lascivious ink is laced with poison,
shot through with blood.
Insubordinate readers are soon slayed
in an assault of salacious storytelling,
until the pernicious protagonist is suddenly nipped in the bud.

I would butcher any attempt to come close to their slaughter.
Each suffocating saga is spliced together
with such homicidal incision,
maybe they might take me in as a Deviant Daughter?!

Rosalie Callway is a crime fiction lover and super-fan of the Mesdames!


And Shirley McDaniel, an artist living and working in Australia writes:

“the fabulous and fascinating mesdames of mayhem.. their very evident empathy and camaraderie documented..their mayhem stories probing.. encompassing and thereby enabling a certain degree of expelling menacing memories..thus creating an order..a control…creating stories probing pain… memory surfing.. exploring loss..excruciating scrutiny…recycled ..meshed and woven into an art form..”

 Visit Shirley and view her work at (





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Happy November CatHello, Dear Readers,

It’s hard to believe it’s November. Aren’t the fall colours wonderful?

After the whirlwind of October, we Mesdames are still catching our breaths from the excitement of a new CBC short documentary on our  Mesdames’ collective and the success of our launch of In the Key of 13 last weekend.

November promises to be a bit less busy, but we’ve still got some book and event highlights to share with you.


Many thanks to author and publisher (Superior Shores Press) Judy Penz Sheluk for her kind words about our CBC short documentary and our latest anthology In the Key of 13 in her newsletter:

“Cat Mills, an award-winning filmmaker, recently made a 15 minute documentary about the Mesdames of Mayhem. While I’m not a member of the Mesdames, I count several of the members among my friends, and I am beyond happy to share this news with you.”

“PS: I’ve read all of the “13” anthologies by the Mesdames of Mayhem and highly recommend them. I can’t wait to get my signed copy at the Ontario Library Association Superconference in Jan. 2020.”

Your name is on a copy, Judy.

Why CBC’s Cat Mills Decided to Make a Film about the Mesdames?

If you are wondering what prompted CBC to make the Mesdames of Mayhem short documentary, look no further than this interview with documentary director Cat Mills in CBC Books: “This CBC documentary explores why four women love writing crime fiction

International Thriller Writers Feature Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de NikolitsThe Occult Persuasion

International Thriller Writers features an interview with Mme Lisa de Nikolits about her recently published book The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution in the November 2019 issue of The Big Thrill magazine.

Madeleine Harris CallwayRead all about the Mesdames in Mme M. H. Callway’s post on Joanne Guidoccio’s blog.

In the Key of 13


On Monday, November 4th, Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken will attend a meeting of finance journalists to hear fellow Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) member, Bill Prentice, discuss self-publishing and present, In the Key of 13 to the journalists. This is a private event.

Madeleine Harris CallwayRosemary McCracken

On Tuesday, November 12th, 7 to 8:30 pm, Mmes Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles have an event at the Queen and Salter Branch, TPL, 765 Queen St. East. The panel discussion is “Canadian Mystery Writers You Should Know About”.

Mmes Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken, Caro Soles

L to R: Mmes Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken, Caro Soles

Madona Skaff


On Sunday, November 17th, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, Mme Madona Skaff will be signing copies of her novel, Journey of A Thousand Steps at Indigo Barrhaven,125 Riocan Ave, Nepean, Ontario. Go to YouTube for a look at the Journey of a Thousand Steps Book Trailer.

Mme Madona Skaf’s sequel to Journey of a Thousand Steps, entitled Death by Association, is due out in the spring of 2020. This time Naya, our intrepid sleuth, tries to solve a triple murder.


Lisa de Nikolits

On Friday, November 8th, Mme Lisa de Nikolitis will be reading from her new book, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution at “Unforgettable Women in Fiction”, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Queen Books, 914 Queen St. East, Toronto.

On Thursday, November 28th, Mme Lisa de Nikolits will be interviewed on Crime Beat Confidential on



Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Award

Crime pays…possibly! But first, you need to have a light mystery (no gravitas, please – only entertainment) published in 2019.
The clock is ticking to the December 16 deadline for submissions to the 2020 Bony Blithe Light MysteryAward with its prize of $1000 plus a charming plaque. For the submission rules, visit the Bony Blithe
submission rules page at
And for both authors and readers: Registration for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-Con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020, is now open. We’re back at the High Park Club in Toronto.
We have panels on a wide range of topics, a book dealer, lunch, the BB award dinner, and lots of opportunities to schmooze with old and new criminous friends. You can register at: http:/
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BREAKING NEWS! The Mesdames of Mayhem CBC Short Doc

CBC Films The Mesdames of Mayhem 

Our heartfelt thanks to Cat Mills and the CBC Short Docs Team, especially producer Felicity Justabro, for this absolutely wonderful short film about The Mesdames of Mayhem.

The CBC released this film on Friday, October 25, 2019, right before our In the Key of 13 Book launch on Saturday, October 26th. We’re still walking on air.

Have a look at the documentary and let us know what you think.

This short documentary is also available on the CBC Gem App:

Watch the Mesdames of Mayhem Short Doc Trailer

The Genesis of the Mesdames of Mayhem Documentary

For those wondering how CBC got the idea for the documentary, read about its genesis on the CBC Books site in “This CBC documentary explores why four women love writing crime fiction”.

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A gala launch for In the Key of 13!

Moving Target

Yesterday, the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fourth crime fiction collection, In the Key of 13, was launched with great fanfare at Toronto’s Sleuth of Baker Street book store. Fourteen of the 19 authors were on hand to give short readings from their stories. Here they are!

Caro Soles, “Moonlight Sonata”: I have never lived in such an elegant place as this. It’s like being in another world here, with the gold-braided doorman and echoing black-marble vestibule. Up we go, Mother and I, in the golden cage to the fourth floor where more marble awaits.

Caro Soles, reading from "Moonlight Sonata."
Caro Soles, reading from “Moonlight Sonata.”

From my story, “Farewell to the King,” in which four young Montreal Elvis fans travel to Memphis for the King’s funeral: Then we were in front of the famous metal gates. Police officers were holding people back. I glimpsed the white mansion fronted by four pillars and two stone…

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Happy OctoberHappy Thanksgiving and Halloween, Dear Readers!

October is one of the busiest times of the year for authors – and readers. As the days and nights get colder, what could be better than to cozy up to our latest anthology? Join us for our launch of In the Key of 13: 19 stories of music and murder.

In the Key of 13 Book Launch

In the Key of 13Get ready to rock’n’roll, croon, hymn sing or sink into the lush sounds of classical music: the perfect background to murder and mayhem.

The Mesdames of Mayhem’s fourth anthology, In the Key of 13 book launch is just around the corner.

So mark your calendars for a wonderful afternoon on Saturday, October 26th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Rd. Come chat with the Mesdames and enjoy the fun!

Admission is free. Treats are included.



Nothing Without UsOn Saturday, October 19th, Mme Madona Skaff will be at the first book launch of Nothing Without Us (Renaissance Press).

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

The launch takes place at 3 p.m. at The 3 Brewers pub, 240 Sparks Street, Ottawa, ON.

Madona’s story “Backbone” is part of this anthology composed of 22 own-voice, multi-genre stories where the protagonists are disabled, deaf, neuro-diverse, and/or they manage mental illness.

Nothing Without Us is available for order on Amazon and from the Renaissance Press online bookstore!

Cover of Crime ClubOn Saturday, October 19, 2-3:30 p.m., come to Different Drummer Bookstore in Burlington for a criminally good time at the launch of Crime Club, Mme Melodie Campbell‘s 15th book, a treat for young adults.

Melodie Campbell

Free refreshments, contests, and fun! Sharing the stage will be Lynn McPherson’s new mystery, The Girls Dressed for Murder.

Children welcome! Different Drummer Bookstore, 513 Locust St., Burlington ON

Sixteen-year-old Penny has moved with her huge dog Ollie to a small town pub owned by her great-aunt. It’s a relief to start over in a place where no one knows her father is in prison. When Ollie digs up a human bone in the back yard of the pub, police are called. Who can the dead person be? Penny and her new friends decide to investigate. And before long they discover one thing: if you’ve killed before, you can kill again.


Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff


Huge congratulations to Mme Madona Skaff’! Her sequel to her Naya Assad mystery, Journey of a Thousand Steps, was sold to Renaissance Press. It will  be released Spring 2020.




Melodie Campbell


Further congratulations to  Mme Melodie Campbell! Her young adult mystery, Crime Club, received a great review from Kirkus Reviews and in August, was the most gifted book on Amazon!




On Wednesday, October 2nd, Mmes Cathy Dunphy, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay and Rosemary McCracken will be visiting the Bracebridge University Women’s Club. This is a private event.

Cathy Dunphy, Lisa de Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosmary McCracken

Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy


Mme Cathy Dunphy will be appearing on Sharon Crawford’s  Crime Beat Confidential, her interview show on ThatChannel, Wednesday, October 9th.


M.H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne MurphyThursday, October 10th, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Mmes M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken and Lynne Murphy will be at Toronto Public Library, Mt. Pleasant Branch, 599 Mt. Pleasant Rd. They will present In the Key of 13 and discuss how to create an anthology.


Lisa de Nikolits


On Friday, October 18th from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., Mme Lisa De Nikolits will be giving a workshop on “Self-Editing and How to Become a Better Writer “at Toronto Public Library, Beaches Branch, 2161 Queen St. East.





M. H. Calway

M. H. Callway

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken









On Saturday, October 19th, Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken will be at the Flamborough Heritage Society Book Fair, St. James Church, 306 Parkside Dr., Waterdown, Flamborough ON, L0R 2H0, 9:30 to 2:30 pm.

On Tuesday, October 22nd, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., Mme Rosemary McCracken will be giving a “First Page Critiquing Workshop (Novels)”  at Toronto Public Library, Beaches Branch, 2161 Queen St. East.


Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Award






Autumn is here and it’s time for all you light mystery authors to think about submitting your 2019 books to the 2020 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. The prize for the best light mystery of the year is a cheque for $1,000 and a jolly award plaque. Visit for the Bony Blithe submission rules. And for authors and readers alike, mark your calendars for the 2020 Bloody Words mini-con and Bony Blithe award galaFriday, May 22, 2020, in Toronto. Visit or our Facebook page /bonyblithe for more information.






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